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Checking Out Your Woodstove

Burn it Smart Burn it Smart... In the RDN
Checking Out Your Woodstove
[4 of 4 in the series]

Heating with wood is a wonderful way to keep warm during our cold and wet winters. But is your woodstove up to the task?

When you have a fire in your woodstove, check and see if there is dark or smelly smoke coming from the chimney. If so, then its combustion is inefficient and incomplete. When wood is burned at a high temperature with enough oxygen for complete combustion, virtually nothing but water and carbon dioxide is produced.

When you improve your woodstove's combustion efficiency, you automatically reduce wood smoke production.

Choosing your woodstove To heat efficiently with wood, start with a stove matched to your heating needs. Large stoves often overheat today's well insulated homes. Smaller stoves burn cleaner and use less fuel because of higher operating temperatures.

Look for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certification. EPA approved woodstoves include features designed to completely burn pollutants before they leave the firebox. They are not only more efficient than most older models, but can cut smoke emissions by as much as 90%! If your existing stove is more than 10 years old, then it may be time to replace it with a new advanced combustion unit meeting EPA / CSA standards.

Finding the right woodstove for you - When looking for an approved appliances, you have choices and it's important to find a stove that suits both your home and your lifestyle:

  1. Advanced combustion stoves use carefully designed fireboxes to optimize combustion. Features include baffles, preheated air supply and firebox insulation.
  2. Catalytic stoves (cats) route exhaust gases through a catalytic combustor, a ceramic honeycomb coated with a rare metal such as platinum or palladium. Cats burn cleaner and produce more heat, particularly under low fire conditions.
  3. Wood pellet stoves consume a manufactured fuel that is dry and easy to burn. Pellet stoves burn cleanly because the fuel/air mix can be carefully controlled over a wide range of heat outputs.
Install your stove safely - Wood burning stoves must be properly installed to be safe and efficient. Most importantly, ensure your installation contractor is WETT certified. Most property insurance companies require a WETT certified individual to do any repair or inspection work for them. A WETT certified installer will ensure the installation is to specification.

Last Modified:  Nov 4, 2010
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